Dr. Williams introduction to Marquette began in 2006 when she was a Mitchem Fellow housed in the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences. Since then, she has taught several courses for the department as an adjunct including Sociology of the Family, Principles of Sociology, Race, Class and Gender and Social Research Methods.
Dr. Williams has always had an interest in education, specifically as it concerns issues of social stratification. At Carleton College, where she graduated in 1993, she was deeply involved with a coalition of student advocates for multicultural education. Following college, she worked as an office manager and kindergarten teacher for an alternative school in Minneapolis. She was also a teacher for an Afro-Centric Preschool. Finally, as a therapy for the Domestic Abuse Project in Minneapolis, she provided both educational tools and counseling for women who had been battered.
In graduate school, Dr Williams’ research focused on the effects of a local Minneapolis school’s culture on both the racial identities and academic achievement of its African American students. Her current research interests involve further development of ‘critical student agency’. This concept, which was central to her dissertation, involves student’s ability to challenge society’s constructions/ stereotypes of marginalized populations. She is also interested in exploring the relationship between gender, physical development and academic experiences in elementary and high school. Specifically, she seeks to uncover if there is a relationship between girls who ‘develop’ early, their interactions with boys in school and the possible effects of these on their academic achievement.